So what got you into music?
Set in south London during the social and economic upheavals of 1970’s,
a shy, sensitive but creative schoolboy discovers that pop, and all the cool and not-so-cool stuff that surrounds it, is something worth taking seriously.
He makes guitars out of cardboard, he sees ABBA win the Eurovision Song Contest, he mimes to old Beatles records in front of his grannie and falls in love with leather clad rock queen Suzi Quatro. Eschewing The Hobbit and C.S. Forester for the grubby pulp fiction of That’ll Be The Day, he survives the cruelty and physical abuse dished out by his school teachers.
Caught in the headlights of punk rock and new wave he rebels against his nice middle-class upbringing and ditches the old squash racket for a real second-hand guitar forming his own band aged just 15. It’s a pivotal moment that sets him off on a long and treacherous path ending in a quest to be the ‘Next Big Thing’ with his band Stranger Than Paradise on the 1980’s music scene.
Set during a golden era of music and fashion starting with glam rock and ending with the druggy and hedonistic club culture of the late-1980’s, this cautionary coming of age tale explores themes of friendship, love, aspiration and youth. There are nihilistic misadventures, doomed relationships, dead-end jobs and spells with a series of hapless and untalented bands, but all the while Dan is convinced that success is just around the corner.
'You’d expect that I had moved quietly on from such hazardous and potentially embarrassing pastimes. But no. It would seem – to borrow a famous line by Adam Ant – that ridicule is nothing to be scared of'
From the wonder of seeing an unknown Joy Division to gatecrashing the Brit Awards and first heartbreak to the tune When Love Breaks Down by Prefab Sprout, the author recalls the bands, the songs, the gigs and the girls that helped shape his world. With a backdrop of London at the time of Live Aid, The Big Bang and rampant Thatcherite consumerism, the action eventually moves to the mean streets of downtown Barcelona where the protagonist finds himself.
You Really Got A Hold On Me is a tragi-comic, roller coaster ride through the euphoric triumphs and near misses of creativity and music making – and indeed life itself!